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Borough of Poole is advising residents to be wary of opportunist thieves and rogue traders looking to take advantage of digital television switchover.
The first stage of the switchover comes to Poole and Bournemouth on 7 March 2012 when the UK's old analogue television broadcast signal is being switched off and replaced with a digital signal. Any TV set that's not ready to receive a digital signal after the switchover takes place will no longer receive TV programmes.
Andy Shimmen, Trading Standards Officer, Borough of Poole warned residents to be on their guard:
"During the switchover process we've seen reports from trading standards services elsewhere in the country of rogue traders targeting vulnerable householders and charging well over the odds for replacement aerials or set top boxes. They might also try selling them equipment that is totally unnecessary or tell customers they need to buy a digital aerial from them, which don't even exist."
Residents requiring more information or assistance about the Switchover can visit www.digitaluk.co.uk or tel: 08456 50 50 50.
Consumers are also warned to be careful that bogus callers don't use the switchover as an opportunity to gain access to their property.
Cllr Xena Dion, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for the Environment, Borough of Poole, said:
"There are known links between rogue traders and distraction burglars and we know that theyâ€™ve used the switchover as a tactic elsewhere. Our advice is not to deal with anyone who knocks on your door without a prior appointment trying to sell you a new aerial or television equipment or offering to check out your old one.
"If you do think you need a new aerial we would recommend consumers contact Digital UK or contact a Trading Standards Approved engineer through www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or on 0845 040506."
The council is also reminding residents that extra help for the over 75's may be available through the BBCâ€™s Help Scheme with eligible households receiving everything they need to switch one TV over for just £40.
For more information about approved, local, traders visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or ring Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.